A hot water tank has a tough life – it is generally working 24/7, and the heating element is submerged in water for all of that time. While these tanks are built to last, there is only so much they can do when it comes to resisting the effects of corrosion.
Most metals, if submerged in water for long enough, will corrode and the same can be said for the insides of your hot water tank. Corrosion in a tank-based system is a serious issue – once it gains a foothold and the inside of the tank becomes damaged, replacement is the only option.
Fortunately, there are ways to help stave off corrosion, and they need not cost a fortune.
One such solution is the extraneous rod that is placed in a lot of models in tanks. The purpose of this anode is simple – it is there to leach minerals and particles in the water to get them out of the water and keep them away from the lining. When the time comes, replacement is simple enough.
You would need to have a look at the manufacturer’s instructions when it comes to how often this anode must be replaced. Most have a lifespan of around three to six years depending on what the condition of the water and whether or not you have a water softening system installed.
If you do, you will need to look at replacing the anode more often because of the salt in the system. With a water softening system, budget to replace the anode once a year, or once every two years.
It isn’t all that hard to check whether or not the anode needs to be replaced. Start off by switching off the tank’s power source and the inlet water valve. The anode will be at the top of the tank and can be easily unscrewed. Do be careful, however, because the tank will be hot.
You will quickly see whether or not the anode needs to be replaced – if the outer lining has been eaten away, get a replacement immediately. You can get these from your local hardware store; you just need to either take the old anode in or let them know what make and model your tank is.
If the rod needs to be replaced, you need to flush the tank out as well to remove any existing particles still in the water.
Converse to what you might think; you do want to see some evidence of corrosion here, especially if the rod has not been checked in a while. If you do not, that could indicate that it is not doing its job properly and that it needs to be replaced.
If you don’t have a water softening system, you would want to see evidence of corrosion at around about the three-year mark.
It is a good idea to find out what the tank’s manufacturers recommend in this area, as water heater issues can cause quite the commotion. If you are not sure or don’t want to fuss about with the system yourself, it would pay you to have a pro come in and perform the check for you.